After some frustration in getting inconsistent readings with the optical alignment equipment when the dummy axles were rotated we purchased some new lengths of round bar to act as dummy axles and hey presto we started achieving consistent readings. We now some some acceptable figures to apply towards the fitting of manganese liners to the horn guides and axleboxes. We had rather optimistically hoped to be in this position back in the Spring but it was found that the horn guides in the chassis did not relate accurately enough to the dummy axles so it became a case of hiring a special machine to true up each horn face and then rechecking everything, all of which took some time.
Preparatory work towards fitting the expansion link brackets continues, again another job not quite as simple as just bolting everything up.
The boiler barrel holes have now been reamed and deburred preparatory to riveting. A lot of energy has been expended in initially opening out the smaller end of the taper barrel in order to insert several inches of the parallel section inside, then drilling and bolting through, closing down the edge of the taper barrel on to the parallel barrel, then more drilling to final size, reaming and deburring, all one hole at a time whilst the remainder are tightly secured to prevent any unwanted movement. We are advised by South Devon Railway Engineering that they have completed their work on more components for 82045’s firebox.
We are at an early stage of looking at the manufacture of the reversing mechanism. This is likely to involve castings, forgings, gear cutting and machining. We are very grateful for the loan from the The Clan Project (72010 Hengist) of their pattern for the hand wheel for the reverser.
Two photos showing a mandrel made by our team for correctly aligning the expansion link brackets. Photos: John Pagett.
Well, thatís it for another year: Solstice and festivities have been and gone, and I am writing this on one of those interminable limbo days between Christmas and New Year. Iím always glad when December is over and we can start to see the evenings grow lighter and look forward to the end of winter: still a long way off, of course, but itís nice to think that at least it wonít get any darker!
2016 has been a year of mixed fortunes for 82045, with consistent excellent progress being made on a number of fronts, while for the onlooker, and probably for many of our supporters, there isnít as much to show for it as might have been hoped.
As a non-(something I regret very much) engineer, I had no idea of the sheer scale and complexity of building a new steam locomotive from scratch, and, at least at Bridgnorth, the year has passed in a constant whirl of activity as the engineering team have laboured to get things absolutely right: the finishing of the immense job of getting the axle boxes ready to receive the coupled wheels; the precise alignment of cylinders and driving axle; the minute machining of the smokebox door to ensure a tight fit with no leakage to spoil the necessary vacuum; and this is just to mention three areas that have required the concentrated attention and all the skills of our chaps. Tonyís Engineering notes amplify some of these procedures.
Again, I would like to pay tribute to all the working team, without whom the job of building 82045 would have cost several hundred thousand pounds more than it has to date. The funds conserved have enabled us to maintain our finances in a healthy state, and I can look forward without trepidation to the prospect of having to write some quite eye-watering cheques for the firebox, pony assemblies and so on during the coming year. The outstanding result of the SVR Guarantee Company raffle and simultaneous appeal to the wider membership boosted our bank account by over £30,000 and showed how much goodwill towards the new engine exists out there.
The one thing Iíd love to be able to tell you all is that we could be sure of lead-times for the completion of contracted work, but it has turned out to be foolish to try to predict with any confidence when a particular job will be done. This situation is by no means unique to the 82045 project: frustrated contacts throughout the railway heritage world all report the same thing. My own feeling is that, nationwide, the capacity to meet the needs of todayís burgeoning industry has not kept pace with its rapid development, and that we are still attempting to fulfil these with the facilities of forty years ago. Itís ironic, really, when you come to think of the wonderful advances that have been made since those days, such that jobs then considered beyond the bounds of possibility are now routine. However, expertise is split into penny packets all over the country, and Iím sure I am not the only one to wish there were a well-equipped central facility that we could all have resort to when necessary: a visit in mid-November to Jeremy Hoskingís superb LNWR works at Crewe brought this home all the more keenly.
So what can we look forward to during 2017? Here is a list of what we hope to achieve, but, in the light of the above remarks, please donít hold me to every item:
These are just the most spectacular of the advances I hope to be able to report this time next year. In addition, many other aspects of the build progress all the time: the assembly of pony trucks, motion parts, lubricators, injectors and reversing gear components to name just a few.
And that, I think, is about it for now. Letís keep our collective fingers crossed for 2017. Above all, many, many thanks for your wonderful support for 82045, and all the very best for the New Year.